Add server 2012 R2 Essentials to existing SBS 2003 domain

Is it possible to add an extra server with Server 2012 (R2) Essentials to an existing SBS 2003 server?  Its purpose is, to take over the  file server role, and later SQL as well, but keep exchange on the SBS 2003 server. If it is not possible, which version of server 2012 can join SBS 2003?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
This is not possible. You must use standard or datacenter editions with SBS.

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ebrinkAuthor Commented:
Is it possible to have SBS 2003 in its role as exchange server, may be on another subnet,
coexisting with Server 2012 Essentials?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
No. Legally you cannot run Essentials and SBS in the same organization. It is part of the license agreement for the product and various technical enforcements exist for that purpose. To be legal, you need standard or datacenter, or need to retire SBS.
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ebrinkAuthor Commented:
Ok. Just to be sure: Server 2012 R2 Standard will join SBS2003 as a member without problems?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
It'll join as a member server.  Depending on how you use it, I can't guarantee it'll be problem free. Server 2003 is end-of-life, and that includes SBS.  There are already documented authentication issues if you use certain protocols or features. I don't know if your environment will have those or not, but you can expect some issues.  The issue isn't standard vs. essentials though. It is simply the age of SBS 2003.  That server should've been retired by now.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
SBS 2003 has a requirement that it be your FSMO Master DC where ALL FSMO roles reside.  All Essentials versions of Windows Server have the SAME requirement.  You cannot have two FSMO masters in the same domain.  And you cannot create trusts to other domains.  So why they could exist on the same network (with some tweaking of network settings), they cannot be in the same domain.

I'm not sure which issues Cliff is referring to.  As far as I know there was an issue with 2012 DCs and 2003 DCs... but as Cliff said, SBS 2003 is end of life (if it isn't fully end of life it will be in 2.5 months when Server 2003 is end of life.  That system is 12 years old and really needs to be replaced.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
It is worth pointing out that while Windows Server 2003 is not EOL for 2.5 months, Exchange 2003 (a component in SBS) has been EOL for over a year.  That means any security vulnerabilities in Exchange 2003 (including the SMTP engine, OWA, Exchange ActiveSync) have *not* been patched and are considered vulnerable.  For this reason, SBS is effectively already EOL and is already insecure, even if the underlying OS still has a small breath of life left. Any server running Exchange 2003, including SBS 2003, should've been retired a year ago.
ebrinkAuthor Commented:
Do not worry about expiration. If everything works fine, there is no problem. The point is, that Microsoft no longer combines Exchange with server software. So the smooth migration is to first migrate what IS included, and keep what is not included. I asume that Lee W. MVP must be correct, that there is a possibillity for coexistense of Server 2012 essentials with SBS 2003 in the same network, with different subnets and domains.  However, I fear it will be complicated to maintain. So may be the best implementation is to use the Standard version of 2012 R2, and make it a member for the time being. 21 days is too short (which is the grace period for essentials).
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Splitting the servers into different domains and subnets doesn't address the legal aspect of the essentials and SBS licensing restrictions so I don't bring them up in maintaining EE's policy regarding discussions of sidestepping technical licensing limitations.

As always, licensing advice is not legally binding, but my (fairly confident) interpretation of the SBS and essentials licenses is that even if you take steps to separate them via subnets, etc, you'd still be violating their use clause by having both. Thus illegal.
ebrinkAuthor Commented:
It is not easy to find the licensing agreements on the internet. However, I think it is not possible to pose such restrictions to the owner of a license.  If someones has bought some version of software, buying another version  of some other software CANNOT make the older version illegal without buying it back. So "having both" cannot be illegal. The only restriction which can legally be made in a licenseagreement is in how you can use it in combination.
Such type of restriction is present for Terminal server (it must run on a separate server; technically that is not a requirement, because in evaluation it runs on the domaincontroller without problems).
I just respond on this statement, because I hate illegal licensing restrictions, I assume, Microsoft is a legal company.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
" If someones has bought some version of software, buying another version  of some other software CANNOT make the older version illegal"

That isn't what I said. I said running both versions in the same organization is illegal. And that certainly falls under the "usage restrictions" quite similar to the ones you listed.  Think of it this way:

Essentials is *much* cheaper than Standard.  If it were legal, many large businesses would buy Essentials for all of their servers and leverage ADLDS, ADFS, or some other variant to allow cross-authentication that would not run afoul of the FSMO or domain-trust limitations imposed on Essentials.  For a 100-200 server enterprise, they could pay someone to manage that infrastructure full time and still come out ahead by buying Essentials.  Obviously there has to be legal restrictions beyond the technical to keep businesses from doing this.

What you say is true. You can't make it illegal to buy both and just have them sitting on the shelf. It is the act of *running* both outside of a migration scenario that is illegal.  It was in the SBS 4.x era and it is with Essentials today.  These are small business products and are priced (and therefore restricted) accordingly.  And yes, one can assume the license agreement has passed through MS legal and, until challenged in a court, is legal for them to impose.  If you want to be the entity to challenge that, by all means...
ebrinkAuthor Commented:
I have started installing server 2012 R2 essentials, and read the license agreement. Luckily there is no restriction whatsoever in how many of them you have and use, may be in one company.
 The restriction is: It is the only domain controller in the network, and has no trustrelation with another domain (and of course: one instance, 25 users).  The exclusion of a trustrelationship with another domaincontroller makes it unattractive to have two of these for one group of users. Every client must access the controllers individually then.
My original question was raised because of the choice I get, when installing Server 2012 R2 Essentials: Step 2: Configure server as domaincontroller. If you want to join as a member of another domain, read... (a deployment guide).
The deploymentguide then states, that you can join 2012 servers only, and you can join domains temporarily to migrate.
With the information of EE now present, the balance can be made: With Essentials, you loose Exchange. So, even in case of a small company with 15 users, you should use server 2012 Standard to be able to have Exchange.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Cliff, I'm afraid I have to agree - I know of no wording that would preclude running two of the same "class" of server by the same organization.  Hacking them to work together in the same domain would be a violation, but simply having two if you really wanted increased management costs and headaches of having two independent domains and server is not a violation based on any agreements I've ever read or heard about.
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